There was never any mystery as to who would be piloting Team USA’s two women’s bobsled teams at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Elana Meyers Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser have been the nation’s two best drivers throughout the current quad, and started this season as the top-ranked drivers in the world.
There was, however, a question regarding which two brakemen from among a deep and talented pool would be chosen to join them in PyeongChang. That was answered on Saturday when USA Bobsled & Skeleton announced the women’s Olympic team, naming Lauren Gibbs as Meyers Taylor’s brakeman and Aja Evans as Greubel Poser’s. Briauna Jones will travel to Korea as the replacement athlete.
The U.S. is the only nation to medal in women’s bobsled at every Olympics since its debut in 2002 and Meyers Taylor and Greubel Poser have big plans to continue that tradition, hoping to win the country’s first gold since 2002.
“The women’s team has been stacked with outstanding talent for the last three Olympic cycles and this year is no exception,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele. “Six push athletes have been battling it out week after week and winning medals on the world cup circuit this year, but we only have two spots for the Games. We don’t take this decision light-heartedly. The selection committee chose the athletes they think have the best chance of bringing home hardware from Korea for Team USA. I wish we could take the entire team with us because they’ve all proven how hard-working and determined they are in addition to being incredibly talented.”
Meyers Taylor, 33, of Douglasville, Georgia, started the season as the world’s No. 1 driver and is now in the No. 2 spot behind Canada’s two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries. The two-time Olympic medalist will be back for her third Winter Games looking to add gold to the silver she won in 2014 and the bronze she earned as a brakeman in 2010. The defending world champion, who also won worlds in 2015 for the country’s first women’s title, has won one gold, three silver and two bronze world cup medals this season.
Meyers Taylor becomes the first woman to represent Team USA in bobsled at three Olympics.
Greubel Poser, 34, of Princeton, New Jersey, won the bronze medal in Sochi in 2014 and is also the defending world championship bronze medalist, which marked the U.S. women’s first double podium at worlds. She’s currently ranked third in the world behind Humphries after a win in Park City, Utah, and a pair of silver medals on the world cup circuit this season.
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Lauren Gibbs, 33, left her sales job to try out for the Olympic team four years ago. This season she has medaled with both Meyers Taylor (silver in Lake Placid and Winterberg, Germany) and Greubel Poser (gold in Park City). She has 11 career world cup medals, and also won bronze at the 2016 world championships with Meyers Taylor.
She will make her Olympic debut in PyeongChang.
Aja Evans, 29, from Chicago, was in the sled with Greubel Poser for their second-place finish at Altenberg earlier this month, as well as both her Olympic and world bronze medals, creating a familiar pairing for the 2018 Olympics. Evans was a shot putter for the University of Illinois before she tried bobsled in 2012. She took a break from the sport after winning Olympic bronze, but returned for the 2016-17 season and has since won sevenmedals on the world cup circuit; she has 14 world cup medals total.
Noticeably absent from the team are Lolo Jones, a two-time Olympian in track and field and 2014 Olympic bobsledder, who pushed Meyers Taylor to gold Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland; and Kehri Jones, who pushed Meyers Taylor to the 2017 world title.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.